Thursday, March 10, 2011

The latest fun: Polar ice melt raising sea levels rapidly, claims new study

The media report below is all alarm. But below the media report I reproduce the more cautious journal abstract upon which the report is based. And then we will look at something really amusing:

The pace at which the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are melting is "accelerating rapidly" and raising the global sea level, according to findings of a study financed by NASA. The findings suggest that the ice sheets - more so than ice loss from earth's mountain glaciers and ice caps - have become "the dominant contributor to global sea level rise, much sooner than model forecasts have predicted".

This study, published on Tuesday, the longest to date examining changes to polar ice sheet mass, combined two decades of monthly satellite measurements with regional atmospheric climate model data to study changes in mass. "That ice sheets will dominate future sea level rise is not surprising - they hold a lot more ice mass than mountain glaciers," said lead author Eric Rignot, jointly of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine.

"What is surprising is this increased contribution by the ice sheets is already happening," he said. Under the current trends, he said, sea level is likely to be "significantly higher" than levels projected by the United Nations climate change panel in 2007.

Isabella Velicogna, co-author of the study, said that the ice sheets lose mass by melting or by breaking apart in blocks of ice, which float into the ocean. "It's related to the warming of the planet but that was not the point of the paper. We just observed the changes,"Professor Velicogna said. "It's losing mass - much more than was expected many years ago."

The study showed that in 2006, a year in which comparable results for loss from mountain glaciers and ice caps are available, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets lost enough mass to raise global sea levels by an average of 1.3mm a year.

The year-on-year acceleration rate of loss on mountain glaciers and ice caps was three times smaller than that of the ice sheets, the study said. "The authors conclude that, if current ice sheet melting rates continue for the next four decades, their cumulative loss could raise sea level by 15 centimetres by 2050," the report said.

"When this is added to the predicted sea level contribution of eight centimetres from glacial ice caps and nine centimetres from ocean thermal expansion, total sea level rise could reach 12.6 inches [32 centimetres]," it said.

The findings were published the March edition of Geophysical Research Letters.



Ice sheet mass balance estimates have improved substantially in recent years using a variety of techniques, over different time periods, and at various levels of spatial detail. Considerable disparity remains between these estimates due to the inherent uncertainties of each method, the lack of detailed comparison between independent estimates, and the effect of temporal modulations in ice sheet surface mass balance. Here, we present a consistent record of mass balance for the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets over the past two decades, validated by the comparison of two independent techniques over the last 8 years: one differencing perimeter loss from net accumulation, and one using a dense time series of time-variable gravity. We find excellent agreement between the two techniques for absolute mass loss and acceleration of mass loss. In 2006, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets experienced a combined mass loss of 475 ± 158 Gt/yr, equivalent to 1.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr sea level rise. Notably, the acceleration in ice sheet loss over the last 18 years was 21.9 ± 1 Gt/yr2 for Greenland and 14.5 ± 2 Gt/yr2 for Antarctica, for a combined total of 36.3 ± 2 Gt/yr2. This acceleration is 3 times larger than for mountain glaciers and ice caps (12 ± 6 Gt/yr2). If this trend continues, ice sheets will be the dominant contributor to sea level rise in the 21st century.


Notice something in the abstract? More than the first quarter of it is devoted to saying how unreliable are the gravity-based measurements they use. They then of course go on to claim that they have got it right. That they have got it WRONG is obvious however. Why? Because their fundamental claim that sea levels are rising at an accelerating rate is false! The satellite data shows in fact that sea level rise rates have slowed in the last five years.

Data from here

Quite mad. They were so fixated on fiddling with their measurement methods that they forgot, in effect, to look out the window

More here

Germany Dumps Global Warming - Climate Disruption is Last Green Gasp

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (FMER) has signalled a decisive switch in global warming policy. In its latest official press release titled, ‘Cold Winter in Europe Does Not Question Climate Change’release (February 22, 2011) Germany’s pro-green government finally fell into line with the U.S. and British environmental campaigners; global warming is dead and ‘climate disruption’ lives in the most populous (82 million inhabitants) nation of the European Union (EU).

The FMER, however, was not quite letting go of the global warming narrative as it reared its ugly head more than once in the press announcement. But in a bait and switch move that U.S. President, Barack Obama would have been proud of the Germans obfuscated their outmoded global warming hype amongst the increasing and contradictory body of evidence showing cooling. Taking lessons from the Whitehouse the German version of the global warming spin machine has now switched over to a ‘climate disruption’ narrative instead.

In its statement, despite conceding that “December in Germany was four degrees colder than average” FMER fiendishly insist that such cold is, in fact, proof of ‘climate disruption’ – a belated tacit admission that global warming had, in fact, stopped in 1998.

The German government line now is that, “all over the world more and more humans seem to suffer from extreme weather conditions. The torrential floods in Australia or the centenary fires in Russia last summer: aren’t they unambiguous signs of climate change?”

But FMER then contradicted their BS and admitted that recent weather events “are neither proof nor counter-evidence for global warming.”

Then, sticking strictly to the doomsaying warmist line came Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology and head of the German climate consortium. Marotzke, an otherwise nice chap to his friends, warned us that “our personal sensations are useless” and that “in spite of the cold Northern European winter, 2010, on a global scale, was one of the three warmest years on record." Pull the other one, Jochem!

Thankfully, the minister also affirms what good scientists agree on, which is that “climate change can only be verified by long-term observations” and she suggests we apply caution when we consider the “unusual statistics of 2010 with its record heat in July and the unusually cold winter months.”

To sum up, despite increasing evidence contradicting the claims of global warming the deranged governments in Europe, including pro-green Germany, still clinging to the forlorn hope that voters are going to allow the imposition of some climate-related taxes, only today, the spin is firmly on ‘climate disruption’ and ‘mitigation’ because no one, not even the pro-green Germans, are buying the discredited global warming spiel any more!

More here

Obama's Green-Jobs Fantasies

Anyone who understands basic economics already knows that President Obama's $2.3 billion green-jobs initiative was snake oil. Now, thanks to Kenneth P. Green, we have statistics as well as theory to prove it.

In a new article, "The Myth of Green Energy Jobs: The European Experience," the environmental scientist and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute writes, "Green programs in Spain destroyed 2.2 jobs for every green job created, while the capital needed for one green job in Italy could create almost five jobs in the general economy."

Ironically, Obama boasts his initiative "will help close the clean-energy gap between America and other nations." But Green says, "(C)ountries are cutting these programs because they realize they aren't sustainable and they are obscenely expensive."

Obama claims that if we "invest" more, "the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs -- but only if we accelerate that transition."

What could make more sense? A little push from the smart politicians and -- voila! -- we can have an abundance of new good-paying jobs and a cleaner, sustainable environment. It's the ultimate twofer.

Except it's an illusion, as economic logic demonstrates.

"It is well understood, among economists, that governments do not 'create' jobs," Green writes. "The willingness of entrepreneurs to invest their capital, paired with consumer demand for goods and services, does that. All the government can do is subsidize some industries while jacking up costs for others. In the green case, it is destroying jobs in the conventional energy sector -- and most likely in other industrial sectors -- through taxes and subsidies to new green companies that will use taxpayer dollars to undercut the competition. The subsidized jobs 'created' are, by definition, less efficient uses of capital than market-created jobs."

Green is using good, solid economic thinking. Many years ago, Henry Hazlitt wrote in his bestseller, "Economics in One Lesson," "The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."

In judging any government initiative, such as Obama's green-jobs plan, you can't look just at the credit side of ledger because the government is unable to give without first taking away.

Worse than that: Inevitably, more is taken away -- destroyed -- than is given because the government substitutes force and taxation for consent and free exchange. Instead of a process driven by consumer preferences, we get one imposed by politicians' grand social designs. It's what F.A. Hayek called "the fatal conceit."

So we shouldn't be surprised that green-jobs programs make energy more expensive. "(F)orcing green energy on the market (is) much, much more expensive," Green said. "Using Spain as a model, when you do the math, you realize that creating 3 million new green jobs could cost $2.25 trillion."

Of course, many people who push "green jobs" want the price of energy to rise so we'll use less. If the environmental lobby wants Americans to be poorer, it ought to come clean about that.

The advocates of such programs don't just misunderstand economics. They have lapsed into a pre-economic mentality. Rulers once believed they could do whatever they wanted, subject only to the physical laws of nature. If things didn't work out as planned, it was because the people had failed to cooperate. But as economist Ludwig von Mises wrote, once economics emerged as an intellectual discipline, "it was learned that in the social realm too there is something operative which power and force are unable to alter and to which they must adjust themselves if they hope to achieve success ... ."

That "something" is inescapable economic forces like the law of supply and demand.

Green is right when he says, "Central planners in the United States trying to promote green industry will fare no better (than Europe) at creating jobs or stimulating the economy."


Recycling can give you cancer

Breakfast cereals, pasta, rice and other foods packed in cardboard boxes could be tainted with toxic chemicals, researchers warn. The substances appear to be leaching from the recycled paper used to make most cardboard boxes. Studies in Germany and Switzerland found the levels to be up to 100 times the agreed safe limit in products sold in supermarkets.

The chemicals – mineral oil hydrocarbons – are said to cause inflammation of internal organs. They could also potentially lead to cancer if consumed in high amounts over many years.

The British breakfast cereals maker, Jordans, has switched from using boxes made with cardboard from recycled paper. Other manufacturers, including Kellogg’s and Weetabix, are investigating making changes to their packaging.

Last year, Kellogg’s removed 28million children’s cereal boxes from shelves in the U.S. after another related chemical was found to have leached out of the packaging. Some consumers complained of a foul smell and nausea.

The research in Switzerland on 119 products was led by Dr Koni Grob and a government-run laboratory in Zurich, working with scientists in Germany. Only those with thicker and more expensive inner lining bags appeared to escape contamination. Dr Grob said: ‘Roughly 30 products were free of mineral oils, nearly all because of an inner barrier.

‘The others all exceeded the limits, most by ten times. We calculated that before the end of their shelf life, they would probably exceed the limit 50 times on average and many would exceed it by several hundred times.’

Dr Grob stressed there was no immediate threat to health but warned the industry should look for alternative packaging. He rejected simply switching to using trees instead of recycled paper. ‘It would cost too many trees,’ he said. ‘We need better solutions such as special barriers.’ [i.e. Thicker plastic bags!]

The FSA described the Swiss findings as ‘interesting’ but said the results ‘have not demonstrated that mineral oils in food packaging represent a food safety risk’.

Barbara Gallani, director at the Food and Drink Federation, said: ‘We are working with the FSA, food manufacturers, retailers and the packaging supply chain to gather more information.’


Climate change has an effect on everything, "even crime and love."

Another demonstration that wrong assumptions can give rise to all sorts of strange conclusions

Better begin preparations now for rising temperatures this century. That message was driven home loud and clear by a series of speakers, including a Nobel Prize-winning Canadian climatologist, at a climate change workshop Tuesday sponsored by the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network.

Adam Fenech, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, told a crowd of 100 municipal leaders, farmers and conservationists that he believes climate change has an effect on everything, "even crime and love."

However, for the purpose of Tuesday's workshop, the message was intended for farmers, foresters, tourist operators and municipal leaders who will need to adjust to the consequences of climate change.

Fenech was a member of the team of scientists who won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their work with the International Panel on Climate Change.

He said current models produced by "the biggest computers in the world" forecast a 2.8- degree Celsius increase in annual mean temperatures by the year 2080 for the biosphere region, which extends from Gananoque to Brockville and north along County Road 42 from Athens to Westport and Parham in Central Frontenac.

He said the projected increase in temperature is a composite taken from three scenarios to reflect low, medium and high greenhouse gas emissions in the future.

Using a series of Environment Canada charts developed with 40 years of information from six weather stations inside the biosphere, Fenech unveiled a number of projections to underscore his urgent call for co-ordinated action to offset the changes.

He said the models project a range of temperature increase from 0.6 to 2.5 degrees Celsius by 2030 and 1.5 to 7.5 degrees Celsius by 2080. "It's quite a range, but they are all projecting an increase," said Fenech.


Some things that the Australian Federal government is not telling about its proposed carbon tax

The government is making numerous claims to justify imposing a tax on carbon in the face of Julia Gillard's solemn promise prior to the last election that,"There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead".

Each one of the government's claims in support of its carbon tax will require detailed scrutiny. In fact, what the government doesn't tell the public is already proving to be as revealing as what it does say.

One of the key reasons the Prime Minister uses in support of her decision to impose a carbon tax is that Australia will be left behind the rest of the world in pricing carbon, claiming, "there are more than 30 countries with emissions trading schemes and 10 American states with emissions trading schemes".

The latter reference is to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, involving a form of cap and trade scheme in 10 north-eastern and mid-Atlantic states in the US.

However, what the Prime Minister fails to reveal is that this initiative is in the throes of unravelling.

In the past few weeks, New Hampshire has taken steps to leave the scheme. One of the reasons it did so was because its state government had recently raided the money raised by this cap-and-trade fund, using it to help plug a black hole in the New Hampshire budget.

In retaliation, opposition politicians were able to gather the numbers to legislate for New Hampshire's exit from the scheme.

Similar raids on revenue from the cap-and-trade schemes to help fund general spending have occurred in at least two other states, including New York and New Jersey. Cross-party support is reportedly building to withdraw New Jersey from the scheme.

If that occurs, commentators suggest the viability of the whole scheme is doubtful. It would be at risk of total collapse.

Given the experience in the US, Treasurer Wayne Swan should be required to give a guarantee that he will not use Labor's proposed carbon tax to fund his budget black hole.

It is also worth noting that the much-heralded Chicago Climate Exchange, partly owned by Al Gore and Goldman Sachs, which was supposedly helping shape a $US10 trillion market in carbon credits, collapsed in November last year. Its last trades in credits costed carbon at 10 cents a tonne.

The Prime Minister also reminds us that the European Union has an emissions trading scheme and that Australia would do well to follow the example set by the EU.

What she fails to add is that the European police agency, Europol, announced on December 28, 2010, that it had discovered a €5 billion ($A6.7 billion) fraud within the EU's trading system. More than 100 people were arrested in connection with it.

There are other claims worth investigating. The Prime Minister is insistent that, as Australia is one of the largest emitters of carbon on a per capita basis, we must impose a tax carbon - even if larger contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions do not take significant steps to reduce emissions.

According to a Reuters report of November 14, 2010, which used data from the US Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre, the top per capita emitters of fossil fuel carbon dioxide (in tonnes) in 2007 were: Qatar 51.3, Kuwait 34.0, United Arab Emirates 30.9, Bahrain 29.5, Trinidad and Tobago 27.7, Luxembourg 24.2, Brunei 19.5, United States 19.0, Australia 17.7 and Saudi Arabia 16.9.

In the context of a global picture, the level of emissions per capita is less important than total emissions.

Again Reuters has reported, based on data from the German renewable energy institute IWR, that the top national emitters of carbon dioxide (in millions of tonnes) in 2009 were: China 7426.4; US 5951.0; Russia 1534.4; India 1529.1; Japan 1225.2; Germany 796.6; South Korea 664.2; Canada 605.9; Saudi Arabia 544.4; Iran 544.4.

On this list, Australia comes in 16th, with 374 million tonnes - or 1.28 per cent of global emissions.

Taking the EU as a whole, we can conclude that 67 per cent of all emissions come from the top five emitters, namely China, the US, EU, India and Russia.

The Copenhagen climate change conference and its aftermath demonstrated that there is unlikely to be any co-ordinated effort by the big five emitters any time soon.

Imposing a tax on carbon in Australia to address our 1.28 per cent share of global emissions has the potential to cause enormous damage to our economy and our standard of living, while making little to no difference to global emissions.

Little wonder that recent polls reveal considerable opposition to yet another tax from this Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister should not impose a carbon tax without putting it to a vote of the Australian people at the next election.

In the meantime, just watch her lips.



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1 comment:

John A said...

Ice sheets - since they quite specifically say they are not including glacier/mountain ice masses (i.e. any landmass supported) I suppose they are talking about ice on the seas, then coming up with "the total melt would be x" while not noticing that since 0.9x is already underwater the effect is 0.1x...